TEHRAN: Despite being at odds with Western powers, particularly over Russia’s war in Ukraine, Iran and Belarus’ presidents praised their close ties during talks in Tehran on Monday, highlighting the importance of maintaining these ties.


Although it has declared its neutrality in the conflict, Iran has been accused of supplying Russian forces with armed drones to use in their invasion of the ex-Soviet state of Belarus.

After meeting with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, who arrived late Sunday for a two-day visit, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi praised the country’s longstanding ties with Belarus, which span three decades.
Raisi commended the two countries for sharing a “common strategic vision” and saying they were “willing to strengthen cooperation” 30 years after their relations began.

Lukashenko remarked, “with great respect, the perseverance with which the (Iranian) people resist external pressures, attempts to impose the will of others on them.”

And I see that, despite everything, you are developing modern technologies and nuclear energy,” he said of Iran’s controversial nuclear program, which has resulted in severe international sanctions.

“We could be very helpful to each other if we really put our efforts together,” Lukashenko said.

The two leaders signed a plan to increase political, economic, and cultural cooperation, but they avoided discussing the conflict in Ukraine.

Even though it has stressed a neutral diplomatic stance in the Ukraine war, Tehran maintains close ties with Russia and supports Lukashenko, who is an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Trump administration has warned of a “dangerous” escalation in military cooperation between Iran and Russia, accusing Iran of providing suicide drones to Russia.
Iran has announced that it has finalized a contract to purchase Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets, despite its denial of providing drones to Russia for use in Ukraine.
During his recent three-day trip to China, Lukashenko expressed his approval of China’s offer to mediate efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine.

While Belarus hasn’t sent any troops to fight on Russia’s side, its territory has served as a staging area for Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.

According to Belarus’ official news agency, Lukashenko’s trip to Iran was only the third by a Belarusian president and the first in 17 years.